How to Find the Right Physical Therapy Program Near Chena Ridge Alaska
Getting a physical therapist degree near Chena Ridge AK is a critical first step to starting a rewarding career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been disabled due to injury or illness regain function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the necessary training and education. A PT must also be licensed in every state, a large number mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it's important to research the ones you are looking at to make certain they will supply a superior education and satisfy your state's licensing requirements. What you should not do is choose a school just because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be considered besides cost and location. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we'll address what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists practice in varying locations, such as Chena Ridge AK hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously touched on, physical therapists help individuals that are suffering from a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they create a course of treatment to address the mobility problems and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also strive to prevent any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Cardiac arrest
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Fire injuries
- Knee Replacement
- Multiple Sclerosis
Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Chena Ridge AK health specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They may also manage several physical therapy assistants who work for them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone considering getting into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees
There are three physical therapy degree options offered for individuals to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these choices, the single degree that is offered that qualifies the graduate to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are short descriptions of degrees that are offered to prospective students in the Chena Ridge AK area:
- Associate Degrees train students to become physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are most often offered by community or junior colleges, and require two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally part of the curriculum.
- Bachelor's Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapist training to prep candidates to progress to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an essential first step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor's degrees, they normally require 4 years to complete and usually incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated if you want to become a licensed practicing physical therapist. The degree program must also be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). In addition to the bachelor's degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to finish, making the total commitment seven years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an essential element in addition to the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not solely for graduation but in a number of states for licensing also.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has taken the place of the Master's of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been phased out and is no longer offered in the USA. Some licensed physical therapists holding a master's or in some cases a bachelor's degree were "grandfathered" in before the existing licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Online Programs
Although not as prevalent as the on-campus options, there are some accredited online physical therapist programs available, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are combined with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the school campus or nearby an available internship. Fortunately, the online portion of the course of study can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student's Chena Ridge AK residence. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many instances more affordable. Tuition might be somewhat lower than comparable on-campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are reduced. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages can make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are motivated enough to attend classes at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
By now you most likely have made a decision concerning a few of your preliminary queries, such as the type of physical therapy degree you want to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are so many PT schools within the Chena Ridge AK area and throughout Alaska, you'll need to explore other qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of school choices. Moreover, you need to make sure that you select the program that is ideal for you. That's why we have compiled a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapist schools you are considering. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions before making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited? Ask if the schools you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As previously mentioned, if you are pursuing a doctoral degree the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you select an online school, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It's important that both the physical therapy program and school you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the College's Ranking? Along with accreditation, it's important that the college and program you choose have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are multiple ways you can research a PT school's reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Contact some Chena Ridge AK physical therapy clinics or other health care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any recommendations about your program selections. It might also be prudent to contact the Alaska Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.
What is the Program's Job Placement Percentage? There are a two important statistics that you should know about each of the physical therapist programs you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might suggest that students dropped out due to displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the help of the school's job placement program, particularly in the Chena Ridge AK area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care field is good or perhaps outstanding. It also confirms that the college has a wide network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It's essential that the college you select furnishes both exceptional training and a curriculum that supports the licensing requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working. In each state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy program. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internships Offered? Ask if the physical therapist colleges you are assessing have partnerships with Chena Ridge AK hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great means to obtain practical training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may help students and graduates form professional relationships in the Chena Ridge healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are looking at what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the physical therapy program also.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the physical therapy college they pick will have to be within travelling distance of their Chena Ridge AK home. Those who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? The majority of DPT colleges provide some form of financial aid to their potential students. Inquire if the schools you are considering have a financial assistance office and find out what kind of assistance is offered. They at least should help in obtaining a student loan or any grants you may be eligible for. Some physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial assistance may be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapy school you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Chena Ridge AK area, check that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Chena Ridge Physical Therapist School
Deciding on the right physical therapy program is an important first decision you must make to begin a fulfilling career in the healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you select should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. However there are additional important questions that you need to ask pertaining to your college of choice also. As you commence your search for a physical therapist program bear in mind that a number of variables will guide you to your final decision. You may want to go to each of the schools to view their facilities and talk with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school help me realize my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the appropriate selection. And with the necessary training and education, you can fulfill your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Chena Ridge Alaska.